Light to Life

Date & Time

About Simons Foundation Lectures

Simons Foundation Lectures are free public colloquia related to basic science and mathematics. These high-level talks are intended for professors, students, postdocs and business professionals, but interested people from the metropolitan area are welcome as well.
Video Thumbnail

By clicking to watch this video, you agree to our privacy policy.

4:15 pm: Tea
5:00 pm: Lecture

All life on Earth is based on electron transfer reactions far from thermodynamic equilibrium. Increasingly high-resolution protein structure imagery provides an opportunity to glimpse into the deep past.

In this talk, Paul Falkowski will examine the origins of biologically catalyzed electron transfer reactions, which form the basis of all life on Earth. He will focus on evolution of the structures responsible for these reactions. The structural analyses of extant oxidoreductases — enzymes that catalyze the transfer of electrons — provide clues to how the earliest life forms evolved increasingly intricate bioelectronic devices. Using experimental analyses of the photochemical reactivity of common minerals, he will go on to explore how photobiochemical reactions could have evolved to provide the long-term power supply for life.


About the Speaker

Paul Falkowski is the Bennett L. Smith Chair in Business and Natural Resources at Rutgers University. His scientific interests include evolution of the Earth’s systems, paleoecology, photosynthesis, biophysics, biogeochemical cycles, symbiosis and sustainability. Falkowski has written more than 350 papers and several books, and has received recognition and distinguished awards for his work, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the A.G. Huntsman Award, the G. Evelyn Hutchinson Award and the Vernadsky Medal from the European Geosciences Union. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Advancing Research in Basic Science and MathematicsSubscribe to our newsletters to receive news & updates